Editor’s note: This blog is part of a video series by the City of Round Rock to highlight impactful locations in the City’s history.
From its earliest days, and throughout the many forms it has taken throughout the decades, the Round Rock Public Library has been a place where residents of Round Rock could come together to share ideas, learn new things and connect with one another.
On Friday, June 22, 1962, the Library opened in a room measuring 12 feet by 18 feet as a community service project of the Round Rock Home Demonstration Club. There was no air conditioning, bathroom, or telephone. The library was open from 2-5 p.m. and library cards were 10 cents each. In 1965, the Library moved into its first building — the old Ford Motor Company building on the corner of East Main and Sheppard Streets. The structure lacked air conditioning, and books were stored on shelves made of planks and concrete blocks. The Library was operated by a nonprofit until the City assumed ownership in 1977.
Eventually time and harsh weather took its toll on the building, which was condemned in 1978. Volunteers helped move books and equipment to a portable school building, located on Liberty Street, until a new permanent location could be found.
In 1980, the Library moved into the first floor of a renovated building that previously housed City Hall and the Fire Department. The second floor of the building housed the chamber that where Round Rock City Council meetings were held.
In 1996, Round Rock citizens approved a $3.5 million bond issue to expand the library from 11,000 square feet to approximately 43,000 square feet, and construction was completed in 1999.
The Griffith building, as it was later called, was named in honor of Robert and Helen Griffith, long time library supporters and community leaders. A renovation of the building was completed in November 2008.
Following approval from voters in the 2013 bond election, the City of Round Rock has constructed the Library’s new home at 200 East Liberty Avenue, moving it one block north from its long-standing location on historic Main Street.
What will happen to the Griffith Building? Round Rock City Council voted unanimously Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022, to approve an architectural services agreement with McKinney York Architects for the renovation of the Griffith Building located at 216 E. Main Street. The future programming for the building is expected to include an Arts and Culture space, the Round Rock Visitors Center and the Round Rock Chamber. Learn more
The Round Rock Public Library is not just a building, but a symbol of the community’s dedication to lifelong learning and the power of knowledge to bring people together. As the Library once again moves to a new home, it will continue to play a vital role in the community for many years to come.